Theresa May has launched a stinging attack on former prime minister Tony Blair for trying to “undermine” her attempts to secure a Brexit deal for Britain.
While May was in Brussels last week, trying to secure concessions from EU leaders on her Brexit agreement, Blair gave a speech in support of a second referendum. He also reportedly made a secret visit to Brussels to talk to EU officials.
Prime Minister May was apparently incensed by his manoeuvres last week, issuing a statement on Saturday night scolding her predecessor. According to the statement, which has been widely reported, May said:
“There are too many people who want to subvert the process for their own political interests, rather than acting in the national interest. For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held and the people he once served.
“We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision. Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for. I remain determined to see that happen. I will not let the British people down.”
Blair said last week that a so-called people’s vote is the only way out of the Brexit mess Britain finds itself in. “Our present situation is unique in modern British politics,” Blair said in a speech in London. “The government is not in control — not of the agenda, not of the events, and not of the outcome.”
He added: “Given all that has happened, the undemocratic thing is to deny people a final say.”
But while May attacked Blair in public, and appeared unwavering in her plan to get her current deal through Parliament, her allies are reportedly plotting a second vote. According to reports on Sunday, defacto deputy prime minister David Lidington and chief of staff Gavin Barwell are secretly advocating for a second vote.